MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Achievement School District is rolling out a new pay schedule in an effort to entice high-performance teachers.
The Commercial Appeal (http://bit.ly/UdsyEw) reports a teacher with a fresh degree could earn $62,500 after six years of teaching with the ASD — and that doesn’t include bonus pay of up to $7,000 for the best performing schools.
The base salary is $16,000 more per year than Shelby County schools pay for the same amount of experience.
Currently, ASD teachers make $49,747 on average, which is $6,000 less than the average for teachers at Memphis City Schools.
The Achievement School District runs low-performing schools across the state with a goal of significantly improving student performance over five years. The goal is to take schools in the bottom 5 percent of achievement and put them in the top 25 percent.
Six schools in Memphis are assigned to the Achievement School District this year, but that number will double next year.
“Last July, amid the craziness of startup, we talked to our teachers about the guiding principles of meaningful pay,” said Ash Solar, ASD chief talent officer. “We spent the last four months building a system that reflects their priorities.”
That means student achievement on standardized tests and what the principal observes in the classroom will lead to more pay instead of seniority and advanced degrees.
“We tied everything to student results and teacher performance,” Solar said. “Every effective teacher gets a raise, period. How much that raise is will be based on performance and pathway.”
Teachers just starting out are paid $40,000, which will increase by $2,500 after their first year if they score at the top of the performance charts. After that, they will receive a $5,000 bump in pay each time they move to a higher bracket.
“We have built this compensation structure toward the goal of being the best place to work,” Solar said. “If teachers are at a fork in the road, and are wondering if this is good or bad, we have built this system to be good.”
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge say three people were arrested early Saturday for trespassing and defacing a building in a high security area of the site.
A press release from the facility said the incident occurred about 4:30 a.m. and an investigation into how they got into the facility is being led by the Department of Energy Inspector General.
The individuals, whose names were not released by Y-12 officials, were to be transported to another facility to be processed with federal trespassing charges.
Y-12 maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and provides nuclear fuel for the Navy and for research reactors worldwide. The statement from the facility said the incident appeared to be a protest-related action.
Steven Wyatt, a spokesman for the facility, said Saturday that the individuals used spray paint and a substance that looked like blood to deface the building.
Knoxville News Sentinel reported (http://bit.ly/MU8CD3 ) that the three people were members of a group called Transform Now Plowshares. Ellen Barfield, who described herself as a friend of the group who had spoken with one of the people after the arrests, said the three individuals had cut through fences to get access and posted a banner and poured blood.
Barfield identified the three as Michael R. Walli, 63, of Washington, D.C.; Megan Rice, 82, of Nevada; and Greg Boertje-Obed, 57, of Duluth, Minn.
Rice was listed in the Blount County jail’s online inmate information system as a federal inmate.
The nuclear complex does get protesters and activists to the site and Wyatt said they often stand in a public area near the facility’s front entrance. About a dozen activists were convicted last year of trespassing after they intentionally crossed a blue line separating state and federal property at the complex in 2010.
News release from Secretary of State’s office:
More than 220,000 Tennesseans have voted early or absentee by mail for the Aug. 2 election – setting a record for a comparable election. Through Wednesday, the total number of people voting early or absentee was 223,281.
For comparison, 206,174 Tennesseans voted during the entire early voting period in August 2008. There were 11,267 people who voted absentee by mail in that election.
Early voting continues through Saturday.
“Early voting numbers for comparable elections hit an all-time high – with three days to spare,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I commend all of those Tennesseans for exercising their right to vote and I encourage all other eligible voters to either cast ballots early or come to the polls on Election Day.”
With voter turnout statistics, it is important to compare elections with the same races on the ballot. For example, the November presidential election is expected to have substantially higher turnout. Also, August elections held during presidential off-years, which include higher profile races for county mayor and sheriff, tend to have higher turnouts than August county elections during presidential years.
Voters are reminded to bring a state- or federally-issued photo ID to vote. A voter who does not present a state- or federally-issued photo ID at the polls will not be turned away, but will receive a provisional ballot. However, the voter will need to return to the election commission office within two business days after the election and present a state- or federally-issued photo ID in order for the provisional ballot to be counted.
Examples of acceptable forms of ID, whether current or expired, include driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs and other state or federal government photo ID cards. College student IDs are not acceptable. Nowhere in the photo ID law is a city or county ID listed as an example of an acceptable ID.
For more information, please visit www.GoVoteTN.com or call the Division of Elections toll-free at 1-877-850-4959.
A New York high school will continue to honor a Tennessee state senator despite controversy over his comments about the origins of the virus that causes AIDS, according to The Tennessean. The Vestal Board of Education refused to take Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, out of its high school’s Wall of Fame, despite an online petition and a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night.
A Vestal student started a campaign to take Campfield’s picture down because of his views on homosexuality. School board members said Tuesday night that Campfield’s opinions do not disqualify him from the Wall of Fame, reports the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, a sister paper to The Tennessean.
“You may be surprised to know that we have heard from many, many people, including students, who understand and agree with our position,” Board President Kim Myers read from a statement at the meeting as some audience members booed. “Many who feel intimidated and fearful to publicly state their approval for fear of being labeled a bigot or anti-gay. When you attempt to shout down opposing voices, who is the bully?”
Campfield graduated from Vestal High School in 1986 and has frequently drawn fire, especially from gay rights groups. Campfield was the primary Senate sponsor during the recent legislative session of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would have discouraged discussion of homosexuality in elementary and middle school.
…Protesters promised to return to board meetings every two weeks until the portrait is removed.
Campfield said an interview Wednesday that the campaign to have him removed from the Wall of Fame is an attempt to squelch views that homosexuality is immoral.
“I think the homosexual community is one of the biggest bullies in politics that there is,” he told The Tennessean. “They’ll go nationwide on a national issue to try to intimidate anyone who disagrees with their lifestyle.”
A group of students, teachers and alumni at a New York high school are calling for the removal of state Sen. Stacey Campfield from its hall of fame based on his comments on homosexuality and AIDS, reports The Tennessean. Several people denounced Campfield at an apparently raucous school board meeting in Vestal, N.Y., the small town near Binghamton where the Knoxville Republican grew up. The group called for his portrait to be taken down from Vestal High School’s Hall of Fame, with one woman shouting “Cowards!” at school board members when they did not immediately agree to do so, according to the Press & Sun-Bulletin, a Gannett sister paper.
Campfield told the paper they “are welcome to their point of view.”
The source of the controversy is a view Campfield shared with a radio host in January that AIDS entered the human population via a sexual encounter with a monkey. Most scientists believe humans first contracted AIDS by eating infected primate meat.
— Update: The board voted to keep Campfield’s portrait in place. AP story below.
One in every eight Tennessee children is growing up in a high poverty community, according to data snapshot released this week by the Annie E. Casey Kids Count project.
More from the News Sentinel: “The concern is there are reduced opportunities they have to be successful in school and in life,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.
….The report — which highlights newly available national, state, and city data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey — found that one-fourth of Tennessee children live in poverty.
The snapshot indicates how high-poverty communities are harmful to children, outlines regions in which concentrated poverty has grown the most, and offers recommendations to address these issues.
O’Neal said her agency is familiar with the numbers but was surprised to see that the number of children in concentrated poverty areas had doubled since 2000.
From 2006 to 2010, about 200,000 Tennessee children lived in concentrated poverty areas, or communities where 30 percent or more of the children live in poverty.
O’Neal said she believes that is because of the effect of the recent recession and the state’s high unemployment rate.
One of the things that sets Tennessee apart from other states, she said, is its poverty is in both urban and rural areas of the state, from Memphis and Nashville to the Appalachian community
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — A program grooming university students to become teachers in math, science and technical fields is giving them early exposure to grade school classrooms.
Using $1.8 million in federal Race to the Top money over four years, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is trying to lure math and science majors into teaching careers. The program puts prospective teachers in front of youngsters for three classroom lessons per semester in elementary, middle and high school.
Math professor and UTeach co-director Stephen Kuhn told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the aim is to attract students who might not think they are interested in teaching and to expose them to the workplace.
The University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Memphis and UTC are all trying the program.